name. Your brand. Your reputation. There is one common denominator with all these. It is your difference. It is your “value add”. It is what matters to you. It is what you wake up to do. It is that single thing that you are identified with year in and out consistently.
If I mentioned someone’s name who is famous, their reputation will make you connect that person with a particular thing. If I mentioned Michael Jordan, you will be thinking about Basketball. Not Baseball. We all remember how Jordan retired from Basketball and tried his hands on Baseball.
Much as we were intrigued to see how he would perform there, he just didn’t make it. Thanks to the incredible reputation that he had built over the decades in basketball though, his name still remains strongly intact in the basketball hall of fame.
The one thing and your reputation
The same would apply to you and I. If someone mentioned my name, the reputation that will precede me will, for the most part, be connected to just one thing that I am known for. As it sounds, reputation, especially a good one is directly connected to your "one thing", that is what matters to you. That, for the most part, would be your purpose.
We have been discussing the several ways in which you can spoil your reputation. There they are:
- A little Deviation from your values
- A little overlooking of your promises
- Slacking on your capacity
- Compromise in your standards
5. Becoming inconsistent with your purpose
Today you are doing this, tomorrow you are doing something totally different. The problem is that each time you want people to identify you with that new façade that you are putting up. It will confuse them so much so that they will not know what to expect from you.
Constancy of Purpose
That way, your reputation will suffer somewhat. When people pin inconsistencies with you, your reputation is shaky and fleeting. However, when you stand like a rock in matters pertaining to your principles and purpose, people tend to know what to expect from you.
Your constancy of purpose will cement your reputation. I can tell you this: people will seldom comment when you put your best foot forward to expose your purpose and what you are passionate about…but that does not mean that they are not taking note. They are.
Title or Difference?
People are silently recognizing the “mountain” that you have chosen to climb and are constantly identifying you with it. Some will call it “personal branding” and they will be right. Your reputation, you have to understand, has little to do with your title, but all to do with your difference.
There are people with titles but no passion, no difference and no purpose. They too will have a soiled reputation, their titles notwithstanding. Therefore, if you wanted to have a soiled reputation, be a wavering person as far as your purpose is concerned. Be as inconsistent as possible with your difference or your calling and before you know it, your reputation is spoilt.
6. Failure to make right your mistakes
Perhaps this is the worst way to disfigure your reputation. You see, your reputation has to do with what you make people feel and how people perceive your character. If you do anything that will soil the feelings that people attach to you or the character that you have built, your reputation will be spoilt.
The Power of Repentance
In Christian circles, we have something so powerful called repentance. In this concept, every time you are convicted and you realize that you have done something wrong to compromise your standards, you repent. This means that you do the following:
- You admit to yourself (and at times publicly) that you really did mess up. Denial is not your friend. Admitting is owning up the mess. I can tell you that nothing gives your reputation a heavy dose as to when you admit your mistakes.
- You commit not to do it again. Of course you cannot predict the future. That is why you cannot know for certain that you will not repeat. However, in committing not to repeat, you are reinforcing the fact that what you did is wrong and you will endeavor to live the rest of your life doing the right thing.
- You quit the wrong thing. That means that you immediately stop doing the mistakes that spoil your character and reputation.
If you can do these three things once you are caught in a mistake, you start repairing your spoilt reputation back up.
7. Failure to make adjustments for relevance
It has been said over and over again about this. Two interesting companies. Two different fates. Nokia. Samsung. Nokia at one point in time had a clientele base of more than one billion people across the globe. That’s a Billion with a B. Can you imagine that?
It is said that once you hit the one million mark of a clientele base, you have become mainstream. Nokia’s reputation at that time was impeccably sky high. Everyone wanted to move from whatever brand they had to Nokia at least with the mass market.
Changing with the times
Samsung was just but a bit-part player in the same niche. Then Apple happed. They brought us an iPhone. Then Android happened. Samsung shifted with the times in order to stay relevant to the new need of smartphones. Nokia stayed put.
Today, Samsung is a brand that is competing massively with Apple. They have had squabbles over the years against each other. Nokia? They are nowhere. They failed to make relevant adjustments at the critical time that they were supposed to. The rest, as they say, is history.
Balance fashion and principles
The same thing can happen to your reputation. Someone said, in matters related to fashion, swim with the current. But in matters related to principles, stand like a rock. That’s my paraphrase. I am not saying that you compromise your principles, standards and values in a bid to be relevant.
Far from it. I am saying that you stay connected to your purpose but at the same time stay relevant to your value add in life. Do not be ancient. Change with the times. That is the final way you will be able to keep your reputation afloat.